Oil and gas company Woodside has set a new world record for drilling the deepest well on the Tidepole East-1 exploration well, offshore Western Australia. The well was drilled to a total depth of 1,905m, and the operation’s rate of penetration stood at 60m per hour.

Woodside used AGR’s riserless mud recovery (RMR) system to maximise the wellbore smearing effect, which kept the wellbore stable. The RMR system allows top holes to be drilled using weighted mud, with fluid and cuttings returned to the rig, and no discharge.

The system was able to supply the low pump rates and the good hole-cleaning capability required to drill efficiently, despite the relatively narrow annulus. During the drilling process, there were no losses to the formation that occurs in conventional drilling.

AGR also provided the RMR system with an internal adapter that could be split for the RMR’s suction module. EDS Asia Pacific general manager Bernt Eikemo said that when the high pressure well head was to be landed on the low pressure well head (LPWH), the suction module was lifted off the LPWH using two tugger winches on the rig, with an ROV performing the split.

"This of course has never been done before but, with a simple design and good communication with the ROV company, it proved to be a great solution and it took next to no time for the ROV to release the locking pins and split the adapter," said Eikemo.